What is the value of GPS as ‘sensor technology’ measuring activities of people? This article presents the result of research developing a process and database architecture for collecting data on pedestrian movement in three European cities.
The enhancement of GPS technology enables the use of GPS devices not only as navigation and orientation tools, but also as instruments used to capture travelled routes: as sensors that measure activity on a city scale or the regional scale. TU Delft developed a process and database architecture for collecting data on pedestrian movement in three European city centres, Norwich, Rouen and Koblenz, and in another experiment for collecting activity data of 13 families in Almere (The Netherlands) for one week. The question posed in this paper is: what is the value of GPS as ‘sensor technology’ measuring activities of people? The conclusion is that GPS offers a widely useable instrument to collect invaluable spatial-temporal data on different scales and in different settings adding new layers of knowledge to urban studies, but the use of GPS-technology and deployment of GPS-devices still offers significant challenges for future research.